The concept of consenting to international law is no simple idea. It rests on sophisticated discursive moves. This article seeks to unpack five of the main discursive moves witnessed in literature and case-law discussing consent to international law. This article argues that these five specific discursive moves are performed, as is claimed here, by almost anyone analyzing the question of consent to international law, be such engagement on the more orthodox side or a critique from the argumentative side of the spectrum. These five discursive moves are (1) the reproduction of a very modernist understanding of authority, (2) the constitution of the very subject that is consenting, (3) the anonymization of the author of consent, (4) the reversal of the temporality of the legal discourse on consent, (5) and the adoption of very binary patterns of thought. This article shows that discursive moves made by international lawyers regarding the idea of consent bear heavily upon the type of political legitimacy, geography, responsibility, and hermeneutics that international law serves.

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